In Memoriam: Milan ‘Mike’ Pupich

B-25J “Heavenly Body” takes off from Eagle Field

The warbird community lost a dedicated friend this past September.  Milan Samuel Pupich was the proud owner of the Heavenly Body, a B-25, Mitchell 44-30748.

B-25J “Heavenly Body” takes off from Eagle Field
B-25J “Heavenly Body” takes off from Eagle Field

Pupich owned the B-25 for longer than any other private individual after the bomber’s decommissioning.  Even post-war action, it was a star in its own right: it made an appearance in the film Catch-22.  He acquired the plane shortly after its Hollywood début, restoring it back to its original wartime condition – replete with functioning turret, guns and radio.


Mike’s family intends to honor his commitment to the Heavenly Body by maintaining and keeping it in flying condition.



  1. Many years ago I had the pleasure of being part of the restoration crew of the B-25 Mitchell, Heavenly Body. The year would have been 1996-1997. I worked with MIke Pupich, Ace and Chad Sisk. After my time in LA, I traveled the globe, but never forget that airplane and her crew. In December 2015, I shall be in LA for the first time in more than 20 years. I would love the opportunity to see Heavenly Body once again, along with her crew. Is still housed in Van Nuys? If someone could put me in touch with her crew, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you, Leslie Aroon Walsh

  2. My sons and I enjoyed workin on the Heavenly Body and Mike, while it was parked at Burbank. Next to Mercury Air, and before that at Tallmantz in Orange County.. My son flew in it a few times and those memories will live on. Thanks Mike and crew, history mustn’t fade away…
    Tom Salmon

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